2D Barcode Litmus Test: PASS
As positive as I am on the advertisement from a 2D execution perspective, I am a little less so, however, from an overall strategic marketing perspective. Here's why.
These are the main copy (selling) points on the mobile website:
Rewards Flexibility You Need
- No travel restrictions or blackout dates when you book airfare or hotel through Ultimate Rewards(sm)
- Redeem rewards for anything you want
- Any flight, any hotel, any time with the Pay Yourself Back Guarantee
- Our phones are answered by people, no prompts
- Enhanced Identity Protection & Zero Liability
- Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases
- No earning caps and no expirations
- Earn double points when you purchase airfare or hotel through Ultimate Rewards(sm)
Again, the execution of the QR Code works and makes sense, so for that I'll give it a "PASS." But, insofar as the company's offer, I believe Chase and most other financial service providers need to keep trying across the board. What ever happened to the free toaster?
Lastly, I have noticed a couple of other ads by Chase making use of codes and I am wondering if this is all being driven internally or through a code provider.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: PASS
For the amount of time and/or money it takes to test a code, let alone garner the advice of someone in the know, it's a worthwhile investment in the long run. I wonder if the organizers plan to use codes during the event and, if so, what might these be like (i.e., will they be tested).
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL
When companies create and execute a well-thought out 2D-based campaign, they should be able to, among other things, 1) gain a greater understanding of who their prospective and/or existing clients are via scan metrics, 2) allow consumers to qualify themselves as prospective buyers, 3) raise brand/product/service engagement, interaction and awareness, 4) generate word of mouth promotion and build social network interaction, 5) deliver to the consumer what they may want and/or need in a particular moment and, last but not least, 6) drive overall product/service sales.
Ms. Somers, how and why you have been led to believe that publicity is the only thing a company stands to gain by using 2D technology I have no idea. Sure publicity, good or bad, hangs in the balance for most any form of advertising and promotion, 2D or otherwise, but I can assure you that companies look to gain much more than just publicity. In fact, publicity is probably the one item that many companies don't recognize and capitalize on when it comes to using 2D technology, but that's for another article altogether.
The company has people who have gone all this way to scan the code, watch the video and be left with nothing. Why? First and foremost, not sure how well the company tested the code and/or video. Second, not sure how well the company thought about the overall user experience. Third, not sure how well the company thought about setting and helping to manage consumer expectations with respect to the code and the scan.
Chances are the company will be able to garner some local media attention/buzz surrounding the use of the code but, other than that, I really wonder what the objectives of this campaign were and if they will be met.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL
Of the eight different 2D barcode reader apps that I have on my mobile device, not one was able to detect and scan the code. The apps/phone had a difficult time focusing on the code and I suspect this was because the QR Code was less than a half-inch square. Best practice would have the code printed no less that one inch square.
What lessons can be learned? First, stick to 2D best practices. Second, stick to best practices. Besides printing the code at the optimal/minimal size, advertisers must, repeat must, test codes prior to campaign launch.
What's the outcome? Not only does Outback do a good job ticking off consumers that are new to 2D scanning and/or new to the company's restaurants, they also tick off experienced 2D users with a code that cannot be scanned. The opportunity to make a great impression/interactive experience falls by the wayside and, in this situation, both the company and prospective customers loose.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL
In most cases, questions were answered and the party lines were given, meaning that nothing new or so insightful was really reported or mentioned by the panelists. Essentially, it was said that 2D gets readers from print to digital, needs to offer something of value to be successful, offers useful metrics, and should be properly explained to readers by advertisers and editors alike. Judging from the audience's reaction, when asked if there were any questions, either the panel did such a great job covering the topic, or the audience was simply not interested in delving much deeper, because no one asked a single question. (There were about 300 people in the room.)
The second panel discussion on 2D followed immediately after, and this discussion was all about Microsoft Tag, a key sponsor of the event (do we sense a theme). The discussion was moderated by a senior marketing person at Microsoft and on the panel were representatives from Golf Digest, Allure, Health and Martha Stewart Weddings. Here the questions were a bit different, because each of these magazines have already used Tags either from the editorial side or the advertising side. Questions consisted of the following: What challenges were faced with using the technology? What was the cost and who did the work to use the technology in the magazine? How do you measure metrics and define success? What best practices can you offer?
Here too, many of the answers were general and somewhat vague, but there were some specifics mentioned with respect to scan rates, lift, renewal rates, etc. (how some of the correlations which were mentioned could have been made based off of scan rate metrics I have no idea). Granted, not a whole lot can be discussed in 20-25 minutes, and of course Microsoft wants to come away smelling like a rose, but all this conversation really seemed to focus on was the one or two issues that Tags were used in for each of these magazines and not much else (Golf Digest not included, as they have consistently used Tag for well over a year). I don't know if this was picked up on by the audience, but in listening to the conversation and trying to remove myself from my connection to the industry, I did not get an overwhelming sense that I must, as a magazine publisher/editor, use this technology (i.e., Tag and/or 2D). Maybe it was me but, with only one question from the audience, which had to do with the sharing of scan rate metrics between the publication and the advertiser, I just wonder.
In addition to the above, I believe I have to make mention of a sponsor at the event, because it shows how 2D continues to be misused in the B2B space. As a sponsor, RR Donnelly had a full-page ad in the event program (see below).
All told, it certainly helps the 2D industry to have had a presence at the conference, and who knows what comes of it for each of the providers/vendors that attended. I just thought a stronger set of examples and reasons to use the technology could have been provided to the audience (i.e., real trend numbers, detailed scan rate data, primary/secondary market research studies by the publications, integrated marketing information, strategic thought process, creative thought process, etc.).
Even though a consumer can learn all about the Red Bull event promotion without having to scan the QR Code, the code was purposely placed on the billboard for one reason or another and, if that's the case, then why would the media buyer purchase/recommend space in a subway station with no connection? While it may or may not be in his/her job description, shouldn't the media buyer know the capabilities and/or requirements of a QR Code, so that a consumer could have the best 2D/interactive/mobile experience possible? And, even if it was not in the job description to know how certain marketing related technologies work best, wouldn't the creative or marketing person(s) behind the campaign inform the media buyer accordingly?
Granted, I am not of the agency/media buying world, and maybe I am speaking out of turn, but something tells me that 2D strategy, campaign and technology information/knowledge is not being shared among the very people who need to know.
From a cost perspective, sure it is more cost effective to take one version of an advertisement and use it across multiple mediums but, at some point, there is a trade off...save money and deliver a less than optimal 2D experience or vice versa. Take your pick. With this campaign, if it's a matter of saving a few dollars by making use of one ad then, what's the opportunity cost when an interested consumer attempts to scan the code in the subway and can't?
If I may, a couple of comments/questions in relation to the announcement.
First, JAGTAG CEO Ed Jordan states, "I have often been asked who JAGTAG's greatest competitor is and I still have the same answer, it's confusion, confusion in the marketplace over which 2D bar code best delivers results.The JAGTAG QR Face Off contest is our attempt to come to terms with that question and clarify leadership." Mr. Jordan, if confusion is the greatest competitor then, why are you adding to it? If it was not enough for marketers/creatives, let a lone a consumer, to know the difference between a QR Code, Microsoft Tag, Data Matrix Code and the original JAGTAG, as well as others, now they have to worry and wonder about the JAGTAG version of a QR Code.
Second, it's interesting to see that a dollar amount was disclosed on the contest's second place prize (a $6,000 value), but not on the first place prize. Why not? Wouldn't a company like to know the potential prize value for winning the whole enchilada?
Third, when I click on the contest's URL in the press release, I come to a page with a JAGTAG QR Code and a standard QR Code (see image above). When I scan the JAGTAG QR Code on the left, I am brought to a 20-second video about the company which, from a 2D best practice perspective, does very little to drive B2B business and/or generate a qualified sales lead. When I scan the standard QR Code on the right, I am brought to the company's main website home page, which 1) is not mobile optimized and 2) does very little to motivate a company/agency to get involved with the contest. Shouldn't the code platforms lead by example?
Fourth, if the term "JAGTAG QR Code" is used to define the offering, what does Denso Wave have to say about it?
Lastly, the phrase "the U.S. leader in mobile 2D barcode advertising" is used to describe the company in the press release. On what is the determination of leader being based? In the campaigns that I have seen, and I have seen many, JAGTAG-based campaigns fall way behind QR Code-based campaigns.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of the contest. Stay tuned.
As a loyal Stop and Shop (Peapod's parent company) customer, I have yet to see the supermarket make use of QR Codes. Perhaps, in time, they will.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: PASS
To begin, in the recent press release, the company states, "Following a successful technology trial launched last year, AT&T announced the availability of AT&T Mobile Barcode Services, which allow businesses to create, publish and manage 1D (UPC) and 2D (QR and Data Matrix) barcodes." Of course the company is not going to divulge the results of its beta test but, how serious was the "technology trial?" Granted, I do not have the capability of seeing every last 2D campaign on the market, but living in a major metro area like New York, and having feelers out across the country, I see my fair share. The only AT&T-based campaign I ever saw, and am aware of, was for Starz, the cable station. Has anyone seen another?
Irregardless of how successful the trial may or may not have been, and as much as it appears as though the company wants to compete in the 2D space, there are a number of limitations and/or concerns with AT&T's code platform. First, the platform can only generate Data Matrix Codes. Although AT&T told me they went with Data Matrix because it is an open-source code, why wouldn't they choose QR Codes, which seem to be more popular here in the U.S.? Second, to read AT&T generated Data Matrix Codes, only AT&T's code reader app can be used. Doesn't this then make AT&T's platform more proprietary and less open source? Third, on the company's Create-A-Code website, a company and/or individual can only generate a contact (vCard information) or website (URL) based code. To know that there are a number of other types of codes that can be generated (e.g., bookmark a website, send an SMS, make a phone call, send an email, vCalander event, Google map, free formatted text), why would a company and/or individual limit themselves to this platform? Fourth, code analytics are minimal at best. The only item that can be tracked and reported on is number of scans per code by day of week.
Not that I am trying to punch holes in AT&T's 2D-based service offering but, why would a company like AT&T come to market with what appears to be a sub-par platform? In reading the company's press release and website, it sounds as though they really want to help companies market themselves via the technology, but talk is talk. Why not come to market with a service offering that blows the doors off the competition?
Lastly, AT&T states, the "AT&T Code Scanner gives people the incentive they need to start exploring the world of mobile barcodes." For a potential customer/user of the platform (i.e., an advertiser), I believe this sends the wrong message. A scanner app should not serve or be viewed as an incentive to a consumer, the offer, value, benefit and experience delivered via the code-based campaign is what will or should provide the incentive. No?
(Thank you, Matthias Galica, CEO of ShareSquare)
When the code is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to a My Coke Rewards landing page/ website, which features information on the company's rewards program, as well as information that ties into the print ad regarding summertime tips for parents and families.
There are a couple of things that I don't fully understand about this campaign. First, the print ad makes no mention of the My Coke Rewards program, so why is the reader of the ad brought to a page that specifically focuses on the program? Second, why state, "For even more, visit mycokerewards.com/summer on your computer." on the landing page/website? Why force the reader of the ad to go to yet another website for additional information? Some other things I don't understand: 1) why isn't the scan resolve landing page/website optimized for mobile, 2) why not offer the information found on the mycokerewards.com/summer website on the landing page/website, 3) why not have more content that ties in with the print ad theme (i.e., summertime tips). There are maybe a handful of tips to be had.
Once again, it seems as though an advertiser is trying to marry 2D technology to existing, non-mobile optimized, content, as opposed to taking the time to really think through the strategic and tactical aspects/elements of a 2D-based campaign. On top of that, there is very little in the way of real value and/or benefit being delivered via this campaign. Frankly, I may be a Coke drinker, but I am less than impressed.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL
Over the past few days, I have seen stories about the use of 2D barcodes on television, but I am just not convinced that this is the right medium for the technology. Any takers?
My guess is that the U.S. Open is behind the campaign, and when it came time to think about how and why a QR Code should be used it seems as though the marketing/creative team just phoned it in. It's either that, or the marketing/creative team purposely decided to target QR Code early adopters and felt that no explanation or instruction surrounding the code was needed. Also, because the scan resolve page only provides ticket purchase information, as opposed to all of the event, venue, player, etc. information found on the U.S. Open's website, it seems as though the organization was also targeting U.S. Open "early adopters" (i.e., people who are already knowledgeable of the players, the event, the schedule, the venue, etc, etc.), as well.
So, at the end of the day, who does this ad really serve? A select few, or the masses? And, some may ask, does it really matter?
While I have plenty of opinions to share on advertising in general, when it comes to the use of 2D, however, I would say that this ad does very little to offer a valuable and/or worthwhile customer experience. Yes, the ad serves the purpose of enabling consumers to purchase tickets, that is what the promotion is all about anyway but, what if consumers want/need to know more? Here come the proverbial hoops to jump through (i.e., the need to leave the Ticketmaster page and search out the U.S. Open's website), on a mobile device nonetheless, and that should not be.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL
At first glance, the code in the lower left-hand corner of the advertisement seems to resemble a highly simplified QR Code but, when you read the copy under the code (Use this augmented reality code at dramaheights.com), you learn that this is an augmented reality-based campaign. As if it's not bad enough to find a 2D barcode-based campaign with little or no explanation or detailed instructions surrounding the code, here is one of the first/few augmented reality campaigns on the market and there is virtually no explanation or detailed instructions surrounding the augmented reality code. Does the company really believe consumers beyond early adopters are going to get it without any explanation or instruction? I'm not so sure that they will, but let's press on.
Not knowing how best to access the dramaheights.com website, I first used my mobile phone, and got no where fast. I then tried my laptop and was able to get to the website quick enough. Once on the home page, I found three buttons on the left to click on (About, Gossip and Vote on the Ending) and, in the center of the page, there is an image of three houses in a neighborhood setting. When one of the homes is clicked on, a new button appears on the right margin which reads "Augmented Reality Prelude." When the "ARP" button is clicked, instructions appear in a pop-up window explaining how to make use of the augmented reality code in the print ad. Wow!! After several minutes (read that again, several minutes) between first seeing the advertisement and working through it to this point, I am able to discern that 1) a story is being told, 2) there are about 4-5 video episodes to view, 3) I can view the story in 3D via augmented reality and 4) I can vote for the outcome of the story, but I have yet to learn anything about the company's products/services or offering. At this point, there is a question to ask: Do I care to go any further? Answer: No, not really. I just want to leave this ad as far behind as I can.
I'm sorry, you may have the where with all to go through the entire website and see where it all leads, but I simply don't. While it's one thing for a company to want to interact and engage with their audience via augmented reality, or even 2D technology, it's quite another for the audience to have to go to so much trouble and still be uncertain as to knowing about the company, its products and its offering.
So, where does this leave us? Simple. It leaves us at a point where advertisers, and their agencies, need to realize and understand that crafting a unique, compelling and relevant message and/or experience is one thing, but to expect so very much from the consumer (i.e., jump through hoops) is quite another. We can drill this down even further by having the marketer/creative ask one simple question, would I, as a consumer, want to go through a process like this just to learn about a product/service or offer? And, aside from all of that, another question to ask is, how and will a campaign like this pay for itself, let alone other marketing/business related expenses? I believe the last question sticks with me the most in the sense that a marketing executive green-lighted this campaign and they probably still have a job.
In regard to augmented reality, my belief is much the same as with 2D technology. It serves a purpose, is not the end all and be all, is right for certain applications and is just one more tool in a marketer's kit. So with this post I am not trying to bash augmented reality, I'm just trying to showcase a company that wants to make use of the technology but, from a strategic and tactical marketing perspective, could have done a great many things to provide a much more effective customer experience and interaction.
If anyone is willing to share any information about this campaign (i.e., cost, success rate, creative strategy, etc.) please do so. Based on the Velux website, it appears as though the campaign is slated to run through July.
On June 9, an article was posted on BNET by Constantine von Hoffmann entitled, "QR Codes: What Happens When You Add Technology To Junk Mail." It seems as though Mr. Hoffman thought my original comment to his article did not make a strong enough case for why I disagreed with his thoughts, so I would like to restate my case here. Below, please see Mr. Hoffman's reply to my original comment and then my reply.
@r_marquis You have not made anything resembling a case for how any of this will actually help me the consumer. If an advertiser does this then it will work well. What is the "this" you refer to here? The theory is valid only as long as you believe the underlying assumption.
These are all ways to inflict more information on me about your product. Marketing people act the these codes were the equivalent of aps. A good Ap -- like the Gibson branded guitar tuner -- provides me with something.
And really, when was the last time you were walking down the street, saw an ad and said, "I hope they can deploy a truly remarkable experience."? Step away from the jargon and back into real life.
@constantine The effectiveness of any advertising, traditional or digital, QR Code or non-QR Code, is in the eye of the consumer. An advertiser can spend tens of thousands of dollars on the strategic planning, creative production and tactical execution of an ad, but if the intended audience, or consumers in general, find little or no real relevancy, value and/or benefit in the ad's message, as well as the product/service being promoted, then chances are the ad will be perceived as junk, or as an interruption, and not paid attention to or acted upon.
If an advertiser creates a QR Code-based campaign that offers very little in the way of relevancy, value and/or benefit to the consumer, in addition to a poor user experience, then chances are the campaign will be perceived as junk or an interruption. If, however, an advertiser crafts a QR Code-based campaign that is relevant and offers value, benefit and meaning to a consumer, in addition to a decent user experience (i.e., a user experience that is intended for a mobile platform) then chances are the campaign will be perceived as being something to pay attention to and interact with. And, the prospect moves one step closer to becoming an actual customer. This is the point I was trying to make in my initial comment.
So, after all is said and done, what do customers get out of a QR Code interaction? Consumers can get detailed product information, retail store locations, coupons, chances to enter a contest, see a video, listen to an audio file, download a book, download an app, download vCard information, download a map, ability to purchase, etc., all on their mobile phone, if this happens to be the platform of choice. From the advertiser's perspective, all of these different types of deliverables become methods by which a consumer can engage and interact with a brand (excuse me if I am using too much jargon), which last I knew is a rather desirable objective to work towards and achieve.
With respect to your comment about stepping back into real life, you are right I don't walk down the street looking at QR Code-based ads saying, "I hope this one offers a remarkable experience." But, I do look at QR Code-based ads (and ads in general) and say, "Does the company really expect me to take them seriously when this is the message, offer, creative and/or user experience they put in front of me?" And, this, I believe, ties in with the thought or comment of, what's in it for me [the consumer]? Your right, companies using QR Code technology need to keep the campaign in perspective, the consumer's perspective, not their own, and this can be said for any type of marketing, not just QR Code-based marketing. So, if the items mentioned above are delivered in a sensible and consumer-focused way, then this is how the question, what's in it for me, gets answered.
In summary, there are plenty of different technologies at a marketer's disposal, pick one, any one. If the marketer ends up developing and implementing a campaign based on a particular technology with blinders on, and not from the consumer's perspective, then chances are high that the campaign will be perceived as junk. Mr. Hoffman, please don't condemn QR Code technology just because some marketers are not using it properly. If this is your line of thinking then, how do you feel about email, telemarketing, direct marketing, television, banner ads, etc.? Surely they all have a place at the integrated marketing table. If these other marketing channels and mediums are used improperly, and with little regard to best practices, then don't they all stand a chance of being considered as junk? Sorry, was that too much jargon again?
In the article, Mr. Wieneke states, "QR codes can actually impede the conversation. First, you [marketers] have to assume not everyone knows what they are, so you have to explain how they work. Then, you just hope people are willing to download the app and go through the hassle of getting it to work. Then and only then will they be exposed to whatever brilliant website you have put together. And the majority of the time, this process neglects the critical issue of why someone would want to do any of this in the first place. Right now the answer to that seems to be, 'Because marketers thinks it's cool.'" When the Internet was starting to become mainstream, didn't marketers have to make certain assumptions when they thought to display a corporate URL for the first time? When email became a viable marketing channel, didn't marketers have to make certain assumptions as to how consumers would react to an electronic direct mail piece? When a company develops and launches a new app, don't marketers have to make certain assumptions as to why "someone would want to do any of this in the first place" (i.e, download an app)?
My answer to all of this is that if a marketer is able to develop and implement a 2D-based campaign in accordance with best practices (yes, they have been established) then, I believe, much of this argument goes away and use of the technology becomes very worthwhile for the marketer, as well as the consumer.
Mr. Wieneke states, "We've seen them everywhere -- bathroom walls, billboards and rub-on tattoos -- tossed like digital spaghetti against a wall in hopes that some of it will stick, or click, to an ad. Overuse of a new technique is nothing new." To that, I would say look at most any out-of-home signage, in-store signage, event signage, print magazine, etc., and the vast majority of advertisements found in these channels/mediums do not feature a 2D barcode. That said, I would be hard pressed to believe that there is an "overuse" of the technology. Yes, there might be a great deal of hope on the part of a marketer that "some of it will stick" but, here too, if best practices were adhered to there would be a lot less need for hope and wishful thinking.
"Much is promised. Little is delivered." says Mr. Wieneke, as he goes on to mention last year's Calvin Klein QR Code campaign, and I would agree, in part. Yes, many companies let consumers down with poorly constructed and executed 2D campaigns, but (I'm afraid I'm starting to sound like a broken record) if best practices were paid attention to and made use of then just as much would be delivered as would be promised.
By now, I believe you can get a sense that I do not agree with Mr. Wieneke's assessment of 2D barcode technology and its lack of usefulness as a strategic and/or tactical marketing element. Instead of simply stating marketers shouldn't waste their time with QR Codes, what should be said is that, as with most any other form of marketing (i.e., direct mail, telemarketing, email, event, banner ads, landing pages, web, mobile, etc.), best practices have been established and, for those marketers who do not wish to waste marketing/creative time, money and energy, they should be paid attention to.
Lastly, why does Mr. Wieneke, and others, try to make it seem as though 2D technology has to be a zero-sum game? 2D technology exists and it works. If marketers want to use 2D let them. If marketers want to use NFC, RFID, visual search, watermarking, or any other technology, let them. As I and others have said before, 2D is merely one tool in the marketer's kit to drive consumer interaction, engagement and sales. It's not an end all and be all, and was never intended to be.
From the printed page to the mobile page, Delta gets it right. To begin, in the print ad, the company instructs readers to "scan the QR code or visit deltafaucet.com/touchbath" to learn more about their new Touch2O line of faucets. Could there have been a more powerful call to action, sure, but at least the company placed one in the ad. Also, it's thoughtful that a URL address is provided in case the scan does not work, or the reader of the ad does not have a smartphone.
Lastly, I noticed that the company has placed a QR Code on its main website, and instructs consumers to scan the code or send a text in order to view the company's mobile site. Whether consumers actually take the time to do this is one thing but, for virtually no cost, the company has provided yet another way by which a consumer can interact and engage with the brand. And, last I heard, this was not such a terrible thing.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: PASS
First, let me briefly describe the campaign. The May issue of Health magazine featured 17 Tags, some of which were editorial and others were advertising. Unfortunately, by the time I went to the newsstand to view the May issue, it was already replaced by the June issue. But all is not lost, because what I ended up seeing, or not seeing, in the June issue, I believe, is more important to discuss here than the review of a Tag-based print ad or two.
Having followed the 2D barcode space for over a year now, I can probably count on one hand the number of advertisers that have regularly used codes as part of their integrated marketing and, by regular, I mean wherever and whenever an ad is placed a 2D code is included. Why should this be? What do companies really think they are gaining or accomplishing by using a code once and then never again? What purpose can this possibly serve? More importantly, how does this type of usage define and/or fit into an overall integrated marketing strategy? In my mind, it doesn't and can't.
A couple of months ago, I noticed two major QR Code-based print and in-store campaigns, one by Macy's the other by Bloomingdale's, but where are their codes today? I see one Macy's and Bloomingdale's print ad after another in newspapers and magazines, but no QR Code can be found. Same when I recently visited both stores.
Yes, I understand what it means to test and experiment with a new marketing tactic or technology, etc. but, how do advertisers expect to build long-term consumer adoption if, in the short term, codes are only used and/or displayed on a sporadic or worse a one-time basis? With most any other form of marketing, don't we as marketers test, refine, test, refine, test, refine, until the tactic or strategy delivers the desired results? Why not do the same with 2D technology?
To begin, why does the company list the Tag reader app's URL without referencing what the Tag is, how the Tag requires a reader app in order to be scanned, where the URL links to, etc. etc.? Is the company just speaking to early adopters, those who already know this is a Tag and what reader app is needed to scan it? If that's the case then why bother listing the URL? If the company is speaking to consumers in general then the URL standing alone means and does very little to help a consumer (i.e., a non-early adopter) experience the Tag.
Additionally, there is no call to action, no offer being made to the consumer in relation to the Tag, so why are they taking the time to scan the Tag, let alone figure out the process to do so?
When the Tag is scanned, the reader of the ad is brought to the product page for the boat featured in the advertisement, nothing more, nothing less. Not an ideal and/or terribly engaging use of the technology.
There is plenty the company could have done with the ad to differentiate itself versus the competition, provide a remarkable 2D/mobile experience, create media buzz and, last but not least, drive product sales.
2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL